Traditional Vietnamese Soup Recipe: A Flavorful Delight!

Are you ready to immerse your taste buds in a rich, spicy and authentic Vietnamese dish? Look no further than this Spicy Vietnamese Soup recipe.

As a chef specializing in Vietnamese cuisine, I’ve dedicated my life to finding the perfect balance of bold flavors and heartwarming comfort in every dish I make. And this soup is no exception.

With its deep layers of flavor and addictive combination of rice noodles, beef, and aromatic spices, this soup is sure to satisfy even the most discerning palates. But don’t let the word “spicy” scare you away – the heat is well-balanced and enhances the overall taste of the broth.

Plus, since this soup is incredibly versatile, it’s perfect for any occasion – whether you’re looking for a cozy night in or entertaining guests at a dinner party. Trust me, once you try this Spicy Vietnamese Soup recipe, you’ll want to make it over and over again. So let’s get started!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Spicy Vietnamese Soup
Spicy Vietnamese Soup

Are you a fan of spicy noodle soups that are full of deep layers of flavor? Then you’re going to love this Spicy Vietnamese Soup Recipe, also known as Bun Bo Hue. This isn’t your ordinary noodle soup – it’s absolutely addictive!

The bold and rich spicy beef broth is made with ingredients such as star anise, cardamom pod, garlic clove, gingerroot, canned tomato, chicken broth, fish sauce and sugar. These ingredients are cooked slowly for hours to create a delicious and aromatic base for the soup. The beef shank and pork belly used in the broth contribute to its heartiness and make it the perfect comfort food on a chilly evening.

But what really sets this recipe apart are the rice noodles – they perfectly absorb the flavors of the soup and give it a chewy texture. The generous serving of beef, shrimp or even tofu add protein to make it a complete and satisfying meal.

Not to mention that this soup is versatile too! You can choose to adjust the spice level to your preference by adding more or less chili paste. Plus, there are endless variations you can try by adding your favorite vegetables or toppings like bean sprouts or cilantro.

So why will you love this recipe? Because it’s not just any old noodle soup – it’s an authentic Bun Bo Hue, crafted with care and attention to detail to produce a soup that’s bursting with flavor in every bite. It’s perfect for any occasion whether it’s for dinner with family, casual brunch with friends or even meal prep on busy weekdays. I guarantee that this spicy Vietnamese soup will be one of your top go-to dishes once you’ve tried it.

Ingredient List

 A bowlful of warmth and spice
A bowlful of warmth and spice

Let’s talk about the star of the show, the ingredient list. To make this Spicy Vietnamese Soup recipe, you’ll need:

Broth and Base

  • 6 oz beef shank (can substitute with pork or beef)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can canned tomato (14.5 oz)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 chunk ginger root (about 2 inches)
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce

Spices and Seasonings

  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 pcs star anise
  • 1 pc cardamom pod
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Noodles and Toppings (Optional)

  • Rice noodles (boiled according to package instructions)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Lime wedges
  • Sliced onion or shallot
  • Cilantro leaves

The Recipe How-To

 A burst of flavors in every scoop
A burst of flavors in every scoop

Now, let’s get to the good stuff – cooking! Here’s how to make this Spicy Vietnamese Soup Recipe.


  • 1 pound beef (beef shank, beef short ribs or oxtail) or chicken breasts, bone-in
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons gingerroot, grated
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons bún bò huế spice mixture (available at Asian markets)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • Sliced onion, cilantro leaves, lime wedges and thinly sliced jalapeno for serving

Step 1:

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally for a minute until fragrant.

Step 2:

Add the canned tomatoes and cook for a minute before adding the chicken broth, sugar, and fish sauce. Give everything a good stir.

Step 3:

Add the beef or chicken breast to the pot. Bring it up to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Let it cook for about an hour or until the meat is fork-tender.

Step 4:

Remove the meat from the pot and transfer it to a cutting board. Let it rest for several minutes before shredding the beef with two forks or slicing the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Step 5:

While you’re waiting for the meat to cool down a bit, add around two tablespoons of bún bò huế spice mixture to the pot, depending on how spicy you’d like the soup to be. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Step 6:

In the same pot, add your desired amount of rice noodles and let them cook until tender but still chewy, usually about three to five minutes. Be sure not to overcook them!

Step 7:

Once the noodles are cooked, add the shredded beef or sliced chicken back to the pot and let everything cook for another minute or so until it’s heated through.

Step 8:

Scoop the soup into bowls and serve them hot with a handful of sliced onion, cilantro leaves, a sprinkle of lime juice, and some thinly sliced jalapeno on top.

Congratulations! You’ve just made one of the most delicious Vietnamese soups I know. Don’t hesitate to make leftovers as this soup absolutely addictive!

Substitutions and Variations

 Vietnamese comfort food at its finest
Vietnamese comfort food at its finest

If you’re looking to mix things up or don’t have all of the ingredients for the Spicy Vietnamese Soup, fear not! There are plenty of substitutions and variations you can make to still achieve a mouth-watering dish.

– Meat Substitutions: If you’re vegetarian or just looking to cut down on meat, you can substitute the beef shank with tofu, mushrooms or seitan. For a seafood twist, try adding some shrimp or squid.

– Noodle Variations: While traditional Vietnamese noodle soup uses rice noodles, you can switch it up by using wheat noodles or even ramen noodles.

– Spice Level: If you’re someone who prefers a milder taste, reduce the amount of chili paste or omit it completely. If you want to crank up the heat, add extra chili paste or chop up some fresh chili peppers to garnish.

– Broth Base: While chicken broth is typically used as a base for Vietnamese noodle soups, you can use beef broth for a richer flavor profile. Vegans can use vegetable broth instead.

– Aromatic Herbs and Spices: This soup is packed with aromatic herbs and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise. You can experiment with different herbs and spices such as coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and bay leaves to customize your flavor profile.

– Garnishes: The options are endless when it comes to garnishes! Top your soup off with crunchy bean sprouts, sliced scallions, fresh cilantro, or even fried onions for extra texture and flavor.

No matter which substitutions or variations you choose to make for this recipe, the final result will still be deliciously flavorful and oh-so-satisfying!

Serving and Pairing

 The perfect soup to cure any cold
The perfect soup to cure any cold

Now that we’ve created this delicious and spicy Vietnamese soup, the question is, how should we serve it?

Firstly, you can decide to add some fresh herbs and spices to your bowl of soup. This will not only add more flavor to your dish but also some extra nutrition. You can opt for cilantro or basil leaves, chili pepper, bean sprouts, lime wedges, or even a spoonful of garlic vinegar.

Secondly, when serving your soup, it’s important to pair it with complementary dishes. If you want a vegetarian option, you can consider adding some tofu cubes or sautéed mushrooms to the noodle soup. Shrimp pho is another suitable alternative meat option for those who prefer seafood. If you’re looking for a bit of extra heat, try pairing the soup with Sichuan-style beef noodles, which will make for an interesting contrast in flavors.

Moreover, the Spicy Vietnamese Soup pairs perfectly with a cold glass of Vietnamese iced coffee or sugarcane juice. The sweetness of these drinks balances out the spiciness in the soup.

Finally, don’t forget that this dish is perfect for any season! Whether you’re enjoying it alone as a comforting bowl of soup on a chilly day or as a fun summer meal at an outdoor picnic with friends and family, the Spicy Vietnamese Soup is incredibly versatile and absolutely addictive.

So go ahead and enjoy this rich and flavorful noodle soup – you won’t be disappointed!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Delightful blend of sweet, sour, and savory
Delightful blend of sweet, sour, and savory

Planning ahead and making meals in advance can save time and reduce stress. The great news about this Spicy Vietnamese Soup Recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.

To make this soup ahead of time, complete the recipe instructions up until the step where you add the noodles. Instead, allow the soup to cool completely and then transfer it to an airtight container. Store the soup in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

To reheat, simply heat a pot on medium heat, add the soup and stir occasionally until heated through. You may need to add a little water or broth as you reheat, as the noodles tend to absorb much of the broth when left sitting for too long.

When reheating from frozen, defrost in the refrigerator overnight before heating on medium heat as usual. It’s recommended to reheat only what you plan to eat, rather than reheating all at once to prevent loss of taste and texture.

Keep in mind that reheating can sometimes alter the flavor of dishes. To maintain its rich spicy flavor, try adding a splash of fish sauce or some fresh chili pepper when you reheat the soup. Avoid over-reheating as well; overheating may cause loss of texture or quality.

Overall, this spicy Vietnamese soup is perfect for meal prep and keeping on hand for quick meals during times when cooking might not be possible.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A hot and sour sensation for your taste buds
A hot and sour sensation for your taste buds

When it comes to making any dish, it’s always good to know some tips and tricks to ensure that the final product is exactly what you want. Here are some tips that will help you to make the perfect Spicy Vietnamese Soup every time:

1. Use Fresh Ingredients: The key to creating a flavorful and authentic soup is to use fresh ingredients. Make sure that your vegetables and herbs are fresh and not expired.

2. Let the Spices Swim: Spice is an integral part of this recipe, so make sure to let it swim in the boiling pot before adding the noodles or meat. Doing so will give an intense flavor that everyone will enjoy.

3. Cook Your Beef Ahead: If you’re using beef shank, it may take longer to cook than other meats. To save time, cook it in advance and then add it into your soup when ready.

4. Be Careful with Fish Sauce: Fish sauce might be an unfamiliar ingredient for many people, but it is one of the most important ones when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine. Use only a small amount at first and adjust later as necessary.

5. Adjust Spiciness Level: This soup can be either mild or extremely spicy depending on the level of heat desired. Be careful with chili peppers and taste frequently while cooking until you reach the perfect spiciness level.

6. Add Greens for a Nutritional Boost: This recipe is actually very versatile, so feel free to add whatever greens or vegetables are available in your fridge to boost its nutritional value.

7. Experiment with Different Meats: While beef shank is the most common meat used in this recipe, you can also try using pork or even shrimp for a delicious twist.

8. Use High-Quality Broth: For rich and deep flavors, always use high-quality chicken broth instead of canned broth as called for in the recipe.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to create variety in your dish and make it taste even more like an authentic Spicy Vietnamese Soup. Now, it’s time to get cooking!


As we wrap up this recipe article, I understand that you might still have some questions about the recipe or its ingredients. Therefore, in this section of frequently asked questions (FAQ), I intend to answer some common questions that you might have about this Spicy Vietnamese Soup recipe. So, let’s dive right in!

What is spicy sate pho?

Pho Sate is a delightful twist on the popular Vietnamese soup known as Beef Pho. The addition of chili-peanut paste gives it a hearty and spicy flavor that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. Served in a bowl with separate noodles and two spring rolls, this dish is perfect for anyone who enjoys a steaming bowl of savory soup.

What is Bun Bo Hue broth made of?

If you find yourself in and around Hue, Vietnam, there is one dish you simply cannot miss: bún bò. This flavorful soup starts with a broth made by slowly simmering beef bones and beef shank with lemongrass. After seasoning the broth with fermented shrimp sauce and sugar, spicy chili oil is added later in the cooking process to give it a little kick.

What does Bun Bo Hue mean in English?

This aromatic and spicy broth with beef and noodles hails from the picturesque city of Hue in Vietnam and is commonly referred to as bun bo hue.

What is the most famous soup in Vietnam?

Pho Bo, also known simply as Pho, is a well-known Vietnamese soup dish that foreign visitors are likely to be familiar with. This delicacy has its roots in the Nam Dinh province of Vietnam and later gained popularity in Hanoi as well.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this spicy Vietnamese soup recipe is the perfect dish for those who want an explosion of flavor in every bite. With its rich and deep layers of flavor, this soup is absolutely addictive and will leave you wanting more. Whether you’re a meat lover or vegetarian, there are plenty of substitutions and variations to suit your taste buds. Additionally, this dish can be made ahead of time and reheated with ease, making it a great option for busy weeknights or meal prep.

I highly recommend that you give this recipe a try and experience the authentic taste of Vietnamese cuisine in the comfort of your own home. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you. So, gather up the ingredients and let’s start cooking!

Spicy Vietnamese Soup

Spicy Vietnamese Soup Recipe

This is a quick, easy recipe. Use whatever vegetables you feel like, I use whatever's in the fridge. Good on a cold day.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 90.4 kcal


  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons gingerroot, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups vegetables
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup canned tomato
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • vermicelli (optional)


  • In a large sauce pan, saute fish sauce, ginger, and garlic, approx 2 minutes.
  • Add vegetables, saute until tender.
  • Add broth, bring to boil. Reduce heat to low.
  • Stir in other ingredients, except hot sauce. Simmer for approx 10 minutes.
  • Stir in hot sauce.
  • Add noodles if using, cook until soft.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 391gCalories: 90.4kcalCarbohydrates: 10.8gProtein: 7.5gFat: 1.8gSaturated Fat: 0.5gSodium: 2073.5mgFiber: 0.6gSugar: 9.2g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Clear Soups, Easy, Vegetable
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